How to Brighten a Dark Staircase

Mattie would like to welcome all of you to the staircase revamp. She is excited about it being brighter and easier for her mom to clean *wink*

Bringing “light” into my dark and semi-enclosed staircase has been on my project list since the hubby and I bought our house a little over three years ago. Yes, I have a project list that I am still working on from 2014….Most likely it won’t be completed until we decide to move again *wink* Now, this project wasn’t a difficult one. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being easy-peasy and 10 being so-hard-it-makes-you-physically-ill, it’s totally an easy-peasy 1. You might be wondering–if it were so easy-peasy, why did we wait so long to do this paint project? Seriously, I have no idea!

This is the first time I saw the staircase of our current house. I say “current” because the little family and I moved a lot during a relatively short period of time.

Flashback to Fall 2013. The little family and I were house hunting in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The hubby got a new job, and it required us leaving our beloved Birmingham area and moving to the mountains. It was a crazy and stressful time, but we made it through without completing losing our minds and religion. Long story short–I fell in love with an old home (which had recently been renovated) in Johnson City, Tennessee. I had to have it–the porch was perfect, the view from the upstairs was gorgeous, and the neighborhood was friendly and revitalizing. The hubby knew I would have a project list, but we agreed to tackle the list slowly because we were both tired of constant renovations.

The staircase is semi-enclosed and does not have its own light source. The lights in the hallways upstairs and downstairs provide a little light along with all the big windows in the parlor and dining room. Bad news is when the sun goes down, it is a black hole and tripping hazard!

A few weeks ago, the hubby was inspired to paint the stair risers. I use the word “inspired” loosely. Perhaps, he just wanted to cross off an item on the project list or impress the neighbors with his mad painting skills. No matter. The risers are painted, the staircase looks amazing, and the project list is now shorter by one item.

Before I get into Hathorn Hall’s stairway makeover, let us flashback to some past stair projects. It will help explain my love of stairs, and how a little paint can totally change the look of a stairway and entrance.

Upstairs railing of our former home in Trussville. The white contrasted with the stained wood is classic. Both pop against the soft yellow walls of the two-story foyer. It takes a lot of patience to paint spindles, but totally worth the time. If you are not in a hurry to finish (e.g., your mother-in-law isn’t coming to visit next week and/or you’re not hosting a dinner party in a few days), paint a set number of spindles each day. It won’t be nearly as overwhelming + you won’t get tired and grumpy wishing you would have never started!

Basement stairway makeover. For more about this project, click here (which will open up to a Sweet Sorghum Living blog post from the archives), and check out my post about the genesis of the basement revamp and how I thought it would go much faster than it did.

Okay, stairs, steps, staircases, stairways…no matter how you say it, they deserve some love and a little glam to make them feel as special as the rest of the home.

Don’t forget to add a little pizazz and character to the outside steps! The hubby built these planters for the steps leading up to the front porch of our Trussville home.

Now, enough about past projects! Let’s take a look at Hathorn Hall’s staircase + see the hot mess little projects make!

Totally against advice I gave earlier, make sure to pick a time that is really inconvenient–like preparing for a neighborhood yard sale. That way you can really have a hot mess and lose your religion *wink*

First things first. Sand the risers and leave your sander where the furbabies and the wife can trip on it.

Tape off the area around the risers and leave your paint bucket on the stairs, so the furbabies can knock it down the steps into the parlor. *Note: Thankfully, this did not happen to us. **Another Note: Do not leave paint container on stairs.**

View from above. First coat and it is already brighter! **Note: It is a miracle that the furbabies did not get into the paint or knock the bucket down the stairs.**

Pricing items for the yard sale while waiting on the first coat to dry.

We painted the risers in Bright White Gloss. Why? Ziva. Gloss is much easier to clean and really durable. It doesn’t take the best photos, but one wipe with a Mr. Clean sponge, and the furbaby dirt is gone!

This photo was taken late afternoon with no lights turned on–just natural light from nearby rooms. The bright white against the dark stain adds a bit of light to the space making it easier to see going up the stairs.

View up the stairs in late afternoon with only the upstairs hallway light on. The gloss paint reflects the light adding to the brightness.

Almost dark outside. No light on in the hallway and one light on in the parlor. The bright white gloss is shining like a beacon!

Almost dark outside. A few lights on in the surrounding rooms. The crispness of the white really makes the semi-enclosed staircase brighter.

View from upstairs. Love how the white risers stand out against the stained wood!

One more project checked off the list! Time for the next one *big smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about making over a dark and semi-enclosed staircase + looking back at other stair makeovers. It feels good to do a little revamping–just remember no matter how little or big the project, there will always be a hot mess *wink*

“Solitude Ride” by SassyHat (Chasidy Hathorn) For more about my art, please visit my website Chasidy Hathorn.










3 thoughts on “How to Brighten a Dark Staircase

  1. Pingback: How to Prepare Your Home for Aging in Place - DW Slater Appraisal Blog

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